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Suffering from blocked or infected sinuses can make you feel helpless. Luckily, several in-office and surgical treatment options are available to you depending on your condition’s severity. 

We’ll go over the definition of, qualifications for and detailed steps of one particular surgical remedy: the Caldwell-Luc procedure.

[Related: Balloon Septoplasty: What To Expect]

What Is the Caldwell-Luc Procedure?

The Caldwell-Luc procedure is a surgical operation that treats severely impacted maxillary sinuses. The treatment’s goal is to clear a critically blocked or infected sinus, and it involves entering the sinus through the mouth via an incision above the teeth. The procedure then creates an enlarged opening for more effective draining through the nose. 

Who Qualifies for the Caldwell-Luc Procedure?

The Caldwell-Luc surgery isn’t for everyone. Before opting for this treatment, your doctor will most likely attempt more traditional approaches to treat your maxillary sinusitis. 

Because of its invasive nature, doctors typically reserve the procedure for select patients who suffer from extensive maxillary sinus infections. Those who undergo a Caldwell-Luc procedure may deal with a great number of nasal polyps or fungal sinusitis that their physician can’t treat with alternate medications. 

[Related: How Do Allergy Shots Work?]

The Caldwell-Luc Procedure: Step by Step

Because the Caldwell-Luc procedure is a surgical treatment, doctors can perform it under either local anesthetic or general anesthetic. After your healthcare provider administers the anesthetic, here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what happens:

  • Your doctor makes a small incision between your upper lip and gum.
  • The incision creates a small opening (sometimes called a “bony window”) to give access to your maxillary sinus wall.
  • Through the opening, your doctor removes any damaged or diseased bone or tissue.
  • At the same time, they often enlarge the sinus’s natural opening into the nasal cavity with an endoscope to improve drainage and reduce the chances of recurrent issues.
  • To finish the procedure, your doctor closes the gum incision with stitches.

[Related: Sinus Surgery: Types, Costs, Procedures and More]

Post-Treatment and Aftercare

Recovery from a Caldwell-Luc procedure is fairly simple and straightforward. If you undergo local anesthesia before your procedure, you can go home immediately after treatment. If you receive general anesthesia, you must wait in a recovery room while it wears off before going home. 

Before leaving the surgical office, your doctor should give you information about your recovery and answer any questions you might have about post-treatment issues. They may also prescribe you pain medication to alleviate any mild or moderate discomfort you experience for a week or so after Caldwell-Luc surgery. They may also include antibiotics in their prescription to help prevent any infection. 

Here are some common side effects to prepare for after the Caldwell-Luc operation:

  • Mild pain and discomfort for one to two weeks after surgery
  • The chance of infection (which antibiotics would treat)
  • Light bruising or the appearance of a black eye
  • Temporary weakness or numbness in the face
  • Pain or numbness of the upper teeth and adjacent gums

Most people recover from a Caldwell-Luc procedure after just a few days. However, it may take a couple of weeks for all side effects to completely subside. 

You can take steps to speed the healing process: 

  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Sleep with your head elevated. 
  • Keep in touch with your doctor for check-ins and assistance with any concerns you have while recovering.

Speaking with your doctor regularly is important. Caldwell-Luc complications are rare, but your doctor should monitor your recovery progress to watch for them.

[Related: Balloon Sinuplasty: What To Expect]

Clear Your Sinuses and Breathe Easily With Dr. Pasha

Dr. Pasha always works with his patients to find and treat their sinus conditions at the source. That way, you can clear your sinuses and breathe freely again. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the Caldwell-Luc procedure or various treatment options for sinusitis or other allergy issues, we’re here to help. 

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Pasha today!

Featured image via PIxabay

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